NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College softball program wrapped up its annual west coast swing on Tuesday. The Gaels fell prey to excellent pitching in game one of the afternoon’s doubleheader before being ousted by the tournament host in the nightcap.
GAME 1: Bryant 3, Iona 0
Junior lefty pitcher Jessica Harkness started for the Maroon & Gold and went 4.1 innings scoreless until sophomore Kaleigh Goulart hit a three run homer to put the Bulldogs ahead. Following the blast, freshman Marnie Skinner came in relief and threw the final 1.2 innings allowing no runs with two hits and one walk.
Bulldogs freshman Gabrielle Ermish threw seven shutout innings, striking out seven. Iona mustered four hits, two each coming from sophomore designated player Marisa Gergel and senior leftfield Ashlyn Morris.
GAME 2: UC Riverside 11, Iona 5
Morris led the game with a two-strike hit and Gergel followed with a walk. Following a fielder’s choice groundout by senior shortstop Katie Newton, senior first basemen Kristen Turner singled through the left side to load the bases. Gergel scored on a pass ball to make the score 1-0 and junior catcher Tori Danner chipped in with a single up the middle to score Newton and Turner.
UC Riverside got three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Alana Evans lost control on the rubber dishing out two walks in the game. Junior Jenna Curtan singled to score one, and eventually sophomore Brittney Garcia and junior Jenna Curtan both crossed the plate to knot the game at three apiece.
Newton led the third with a lead-off walk. Three pitches later, Iona’s all-time program leader hit her third homerun of the tournament to put the Gaels out front, 5-3.
From that points on, UC Riverside scored nine unanswered runs. Junior Chelsey Holley suppled two RBI with a singled up the middle in the third and Garcia hit two-run shot in the fifth that gave the Highlanders an 8-5 lead in the fourth. The Highlanders tacked on four additional runs in their final at-bat in the sixth.
Morris, Turner and Danner each had a game-high two hits for Iona. Turner and Danner each drove in a pair. The Gaels left five runners on base.
Weather depending, the Maroon & Gold return to the diamond on Friday, March 17 in West Orange, NJ against the Hartford Hawks in the first game of the Seton Hall University Pirate Invite.